Antonio Conte backs Nathan Ake to replace David Luiz - if he needs to

Ben Burrows
Antonio Conte was pleased with Nathan Ake's contribution at Everton: Getty

Antonio Conte doesn’t yet know if David Luiz will miss any time through injury but has backed Nathan Ake to step into the void if necessary.

The Brazilian was forced off in the latter stages of Chelsea’s win over Everton with what appeared to be a leg injury being replaced by Ake for the final eight minutes at Goodison Park.

Luiz, a PFA Team of the Year member, has enjoyed an outstanding season, but Conte was pleased with Ake’s contribution and backed him to deputise on Monday against Middlesbrough should the 30-year-old not recover in time.

"I didn't speak with the doctor about his (Luiz's) injury but I don't think it is a serious injury for him," he said.

"I hope in the next game that David Luiz is available to play. Also now in this part of the season it is important sometimes to try to play if you are not 100 per cent with your condition.

"He is showing us great commitment in this season. Don't forget his injury in the knee after the game against City - but I am very pleased for the impact of Ake in (the Everton) game.

"He came on and I think he looks a veteran and it is great.

"He is only a young player that started to play for two years, Watford and Bournemouth, and now is showing great commitment, work-rate and concentration when I ask him to play. It is great for him.

David Luiz limped off in the closing stages of Chelsea's win at Everton (Getty)

"It is not easy to be used to play every game for Bournemouth and to arrive for Chelsea and stay on the bench and sometimes understand.

"But I think he understood I trust him because I put him in the (FA Cup) semi-final against Tottenham. I put him now in a very important moment for us."




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